Can You Cut Corners on Race Timing for Your Event?


Timing a race can get expensive and can Sharknado your budget. But you’re going to have to grit your teeth and sign over that check—choosing to cut corners on race timing and doing it with outdated technology is a surefire recipe for disaster. So don’t even think about asking your family to get out there with stopwatches and legal pads! Yes, we know the kids are willing to help and you need to manage that bottom line, but this is one aspect of the event that must be executed with precision.

Why is race timing so gosh-danged important? Because it…

Clearly States You’re Legit: Chip timing is standard in the industry. Even if you only have 10 people show up to your start line, you want them to know that you run a professional event.


Keeps Participants Happy: People are competitive. Your participants may not be Olympians, but they want to win, even if that means beating their previous split times (or their neighbor who PR’d in a half marathon last month).

Makes Your Life Easier: Your timer will take care of all the details and you can work with them as a partner to make sure this big part of your event goes off without a hitch. Taking it all on yourself will be more long hours and stress you don’t need.

If you’re a first-time organizer, don’t leave this detail to the last minute. Reach out to experienced event directors and ask for recommendations, and then send out a bid request to several timers. You can choose a timer by evaluating:

Pricing: Ask for a straightforward quote. Most pricing has a minimum fee that needs to be met then the cost varies from there based on number of participants. Most timers charge by number of registered participants due to bib prep.



Technology: Ask for read rates on the chips and how the company manages the entire process, beginning to end.

Experience: Ask for references and company history.

Unfortunately, the most experienced timers with the newest technology don’t come cheap. You’ll have to strike a balance on quality and cost so you can stay within your budget, unless your uncle is Scrooge McDuck.

As trite as it sounds, timing is everything, and it’s definitely an element of your event you should dedicate serious thought to. If you need any advice, contact us or just want some recommendations for timers we trust, check out a list of our ChronoTrack certified race timers here.

Download our eGuide on how to make race day a success for more race day tips.

To learn more about ChronoTrack, contact us.